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Aztech V500DS-S1 Skype DECT phone

VoIP moves out of the 'PC peripheral' era

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Review The concept of the PC-free Skype-supporting DECT phone went straight to the top of our How Did We Survive Without One? list on the first day we used such a device, the Netgear SPH200D - reviewed here. Now, from Singapore-based Aztech, we have the V500DS-S1, another all-singing, all-dancing, Skype'n'DECT phone capable of making calls via either a run-of-the-mill landline or VoiP.

Aztech V500DS-S1 PC-free Skype & DECT phone
Aztech's V500DS-S1: looks cool and is comfortable to use

The first thing that strikes you about the V500DS is that it's a handsome-looking beast. The handset is finished in black and silver, and has a nice heft to it so it sits well in the hand. The silver keys and four-way menu button work with a reassuring and tactile click, while the bright 3cm square, 128 x 128 colour screen makes it easy to see what is afoot and follow the familiar Skype user interface. When not in use the handset rests in an equally fine-looking basestation that acts as both transmitter/receiver and power charger - unlike the Netgear SPH200D, which has two units, one for the phone charger, the other for the receiver.

The basestation has three LEDs to indicate the status of the battery charge, the Ethernet link and whether or not a call is in progress - the last is really only of use if you're running multiple handsets from the one basestation.

It must be said that looks are one of the V500SD's trump cards. The entire package looks clean and modern, but hasn't been overstyled, while the plastics are all of a good quality. It certainly makes the Netgear offering look just a little 'PC peripheral' when viewed alongside it.

Included in the box with the phone and basestation is a power cord, an RJ-11 phone cable, an RJ-45 Ethernet cable, a belt clip for the handset plus the operating manual on a CD as a PDF file. The handset is powered by two supplied AAA rechargeable batteries, which charge up in 12 hours and are quoted as being good for eight hours' talk and 120 hours on standby.

Six hours of pretty constant use during this test certainly seemed to have little impact on the indicated battery life, so the quoted numbers are probably not far short of reality.

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